You may know what’s in them; but do you know where they got their name from?
Popular staples in the bar industry like Bloody Mary’s, Manhattans, Screw Drivers, and Old Fashions certainly have names that make you question their origins. Below you can read through a list of popular cocktails just like these to learn a brief description of how they got their names. Then you can share this thought-provoking information with your peers the next time you gather together for a round or two!
🍹 Bloody Mary
Bloody Marys are tangy, spicy cocktails made from a tomato juice and vodka base, and mixed with a variation of spices and ingredients like salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, celery, Worcestershire, and more. Although the origin of the name has many stories and remains quite ambiguous, most agree that it is named after Queen Mary I of England, who was dubbed “Bloody Mary” for attempting to re-establish the Catholic Church.
Also known as a “Cosmo” for short, the Cosmopolitan was made famous in the television series, “Sex in the City.” However, the Cosmopolitan was influencing the bar industry long before its red carpet debut. Primarily constructed with vodka, triple sec, and cranberry juice, this popular martini-style drink’s name is said to have come from Neal Murray of the Cork & Cleaver steak house in Minneapolis in 1975. Supposedly, he added a splash of cranberry juice to a Kamikaze and said, “How Cosmopolitan.”
🍸 Dirty Martini
The Dirty Martini is a simple and sophisticated cocktail for vodka and gin drinkers. Primarily made with vodka or gin, vermouth, olive brine or juice, and garnished with green bar olives, this cocktail has a name that suggests something “unclean” or perhaps even “unscrupulous.” But the real origin of its name actually unknown. It is suggested that it describes the muddied, clouded appearance the olive brine gives the liquor.
🍹 Long Island Ice Tea
A Long Island Ice Tea traditionally contains vodka, tequila, light rum, triple sec, gin, and a splash of cola. It makes sense that this all-inclusive cocktail began in Long Island, New York; right? Well, this is actually true. A man by the name Robert “Rosebud” Butt claims he invented the drink in 1972 after entering a contest while working at the Oak Beach Inn in Long Island, New York.
🍹 Mai Tai
Mai Tai drinks are commonly made with white and dark rum, orange curacao, fresh lime juice, and almond flavoring syrup. These Polynesian-style ingredients may be what inspired the name. A man named Victor J. Bergeron claimed to invent the drink in 1944 when he made it for his friends who were visiting from Tahiti. In Tahitian language, “Maita’i” means “good.”
Universally made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, the Manhattan is a classic bar drink. Although the origin is unclear, it is said that the drink was created at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870’s for a banquet in honor of presidential candidate, Samuel J. Tilden. People began calling this drink the “Manhattan cocktail” after the club.
🥃 Old Fashion
An Old Fashion is not exactly what the name implies. It is made by muddling sugar with bitters, then adding whiskey or brandy, and finished with a twist of citrus rind. But the ingredients are not where the name comes from. Traditionally, the Old Fashion is served in a short, round, tumbler-like glass called an “Old Fashion glass.” This is where the name likely comes from.
🥂 Screw Driver
There are several stories about this popular breakfast-style cocktail and its origins. The most supported story regarding its name suggests that it began with American oil workers working in the Persian Gulf during the 1920’s. They didn’t have a regular steel spoon to stir their drink, so they used whatever they had on hand that worked; and a screwdriver was always the most reliable tool nearby.